Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Christoph Schell, Elizabeth White, Matt Brickey, Mehdi Daoudi

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Agile Computing

Microservices Expo: Article

End-User Experience Management Drives ROI

Five ways for CIOs to convince their CFOs

Enterprise CFOs are taking an increasingly active role in managing the IT decision making process. As a result, IT professionals need to be prepared to quickly show how innovative technology investments equate to real business value. According to a recent industry report, only 5 percent of CIOs have the power to authorize IT investments. That same study reports that IT departments are now, more than ever, reporting directly to the CFO (42 percent) as opposed to the 33 percent reporting to the CEO. A company can't stay competitive and productive without the right tools, technology and infrastructure. And, today's CIOs and IT leaders need the approval of the finance department, which means technology investments need to be more tightly coupled and aligned to company goals and business value.

It has also become increasingly important to prove how new investments can drive additional ROI from the company's existing infrastructure, reduce overall business costs, optimize business processes and improve business productivity, while also demonstrating overall interoperability with existing and future IT investments. Common questions finance asks IT are: "Why do we need another XYZ tool when we already have several throughout the enterprise?" or "How will this product add value to the business and when?"

Making the Case for End User Experience Management
When it comes to application performance management (APM) and end user experience, enterprises could have anywhere from five to over 100 management tools that they use in tandem to help manage their IT services. However, these tools are typically data center-centric - they are unable to monitor, detect and pinpoint the cause of application performance problems from the desktop vantage point. So despite the fact there's been a substantial investment in these APM tools, they cannot provide IT with visibility into understanding how end users are actually experiencing the IT services they consume. Therefore, IT is unable to proactively manage and address performance issues before business productivity is impacted.

Below are some suggested ways for IT to bridge the ROI use case gap and how to describe the real business value that can be delivered with the adoption of real end user experience monitoring and management tools, especially those focused on the desktop vantage point - which, by the way, is becoming more widely recognized as a necessity in order to fuel a true user-centric approach to proactive IT management.

According to Will Cappelli, research vice president of Gartner, Inc., "Technologies are required which will be able to penetrate the increasingly complex and opaque Internet edge and the correlation between edge events and host processes. In fact, we believe that such technologies that gather and analyze data from the point where users and customers actually access the data could, in some cases, replace APM technologies that are reliant on data-center-bound instrumentation points."

1. Define and Communicate the Limitations of Existing Products
Industry-leading analysts have established that in 74 percent of the reported help desk cases, IT first learns about performance and availability problems when users call the help desk. That's because existing application performance management products are data center-focused and provide very little visibility into real end user experience. As mentioned earlier, the average company has five APM products in place, many have as many as 25 different products, and 100+ is not uncommon. While each of these products may be critical for managing certain components of the IT infrastructure, they do not address the effective management of the end user experience, thereby curtailing both user and business productivity.

The recently published Gartner Magic Quadrant for User Application Performance Monitoring (by Will Cappelli and Jonah Kowall, September 19, 2011) has identified end user experience monitoring as one of the central components to the application performance management process because it "is precisely where business process execution interfaces with the IT stack; any monitoring effort that fails to capture the end user's experience is ultimately blind at the most direct point of encounter between IT and the business."

The problem seems to be a lack of the right tools - those that support business optimization, improvements to IT processes, and increased user productivity. User-centric, proactive IT management of the end user experience addresses this critical problem - the visibility gap - at its core.

2. Share How Current and Future IT Investments Impact Real End User Experience and Business Productivity
In the application world, companies make continued investments to improve application adoption and how they perform for their end users. And it's no secret that when key business applications aren't performing optimally, the impact can be felt both on the business and on corporate morale. According to analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates, large companies report that "downtime can cost in excess of $15,000 per minute for technology-dependent organizations, as applications drive revenue, productivity and brand value."

When precise insights are available into how users utilize their applications, real end user performance data can be leveraged to increase the ROI on these investments. For example, if IT management can validate that users are actively adopting and successfully using the application and their productivity is meeting expectations, this insight can eliminate the unnecessary and costly investment of additional licenses or "premium" packages based on usage. It can also help highlight the need for improved training for increased productivity and even reduce the deadly "shelf ware" sin, where 57 percent of global enterprises own more software licenses than actually deployed.

3. Be Prepared with Empirical Evidence to Prove Your Case
Desktop and infrastructure investments are critical to any IT organization. It is a challenge to keep up with the plethora of devices, protocols and innovations to understand which is better for your unique business and IT environment. The cost of selecting, purchasing and deploying new infrastructure technologies can be exorbitant. On top of that, you enter very risky waters if you lack the empirical evidence that the performance improvements will actually improve the end user experience.

Understanding the potential impact of software and application upgrades on end user experience is critical for the enterprise, as a single vulnerability can severely impact business continuity. The same applies to testing configuration management of infrastructure components and various operating systems. Comprehensive before-and-after comparisons validate performance and functionality prior to rolling out the application enterprise-wide. Visibility into the actual end user experience and performance that proves proposed changes substantially impact performance (or not) ensure that the investment decisions are based on empirical evidence versus assumption.

4. Evangelize the "Visibility Gap" and Reveal How It Threatens the Business
To understand the impact real end user experience has on business productivity, and ultimately the return on your existing and future IT investments, you must be able to measure and monitor the three primary components that dynamically interact to constantly impact how end users experience the IT services they consume in real-time. Otherwise, decisions will be made with a significant "visibility gap" in performance knowledge that can lead to unnecessary and costly missteps.

The first component is application performance. Latency, response time and end-to-end transaction time are all key elements in both the experience and measurement of application performance.

The second component is device performance. Even if the end-to-end transaction time of a particular application is excellent, if the underlying platform is sluggish - perhaps due to CPU power, memory availability or other background processes that are resource hogs - the end user's experience with what should be a high-performing application will be poor.

Ultimately, businesses deliver applications to enhance the productivity of end users, making user productivity the third component of end user experience. How many trades, calls or emails can the end user complete using a particular application running on a specific desktop platform? Productivity is impacted by error messages, non-responding and crashed applications, boot time, and the actual usability of the application.

Measuring and monitoring the three primary components (application, device and user) that dynamically interact to constantly impact end users experience in real-time is critical in order to close the "visibility gap" between how IT believes services are being consumed and how they are actually being experienced by the frontline.

5. Comprehensive Visibility Delivers Rapid Response and Cost Reduction
More often than not, the first and only indication of a problem on the frontline is when end users call the help desk - if they call at all - and by this time business and end user productivity has already been disrupted. Moreover, when users start calling it is very difficult for them to accurately describe the problems they are experiencing, while at the same time IT can't determine whether the issues are isolated or endemic.

Immediate awareness and rapid response to end user problems before end users call the help desk can reduce the costs associated with the need for manual monitoring and dedicated help desk/IT operations resources for severity type 1 and 2 problems. The ability to monitor the "Key-to-Glass" for any business activity running on any desktop (type), autonomic performance profiling and proactive incident detection all help contribute to cost reduction.

Summary
Today's CFO is "increasingly becoming the top technology investment decision maker in many organizations," but even though one report discussed earlier indicates this shift, another report, CIO magazine's 2010 State of the CIO, found that 43 percent of CIOs still report to CEOs, and just 19 percent report to CFOs. Whether the number is 19 percent or 42 percent, the more important takeaway is that CIOs and IT leaders are indeed increasing the communication path and their transparency with financial leaders.

To do so, CIOs are demonstrating their understanding of the direct impact IT tools and technologies have on improving business performance by delivering effective control, efficiency and business insight. They are making this crystal clear to their financial leader counterpart(s) and therefore bridging the gap between the enigma of IT and the real benefits and ROI being witnessed on an ongoing basis. This is how CIOs and CFOs will achieve common business goals. Gaining true end user experience management and monitoring is just one example of how an IT investment can be pivotal in driving more ROI from existing and planned IT infrastructure investments - something that everyone can rally behind.

More Stories By Donna Parent

Donna Parent is vice president of marketing for Aternity Inc. She has held a number of senior marketing positions at emerging software vendors spanning real-time business intelligence solutions for SOAs, Sales Force Automation software, high-performance Complex Event Processing (CEP) solutions, and online intelligence applications for monitoring business activity through open Internet resources.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
"As we've gone out into the public cloud we've seen that over time we may have lost a few things - we've lost control, we've given up cost to a certain extent, and then security, flexibility," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics,in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
From personal care products to groceries and movies on demand, cloud-based subscriptions are fulfilling the needs of consumers across an array of market sectors. Nowhere is this shift to subscription services more evident than in the technology sector. By adopting an Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) delivery model, companies are able to tailor their computing environments to shape the experiences they want for customers as well as their workforce.
"We focus on SAP workloads because they are among the most powerful but somewhat challenging workloads out there to take into public cloud," explained Swen Conrad, CEO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"Outscale was founded in 2010, is based in France, is a strategic partner to Dassault Systémes and has done quite a bit of work with divisions of Dassault," explained Jackie Funk, Digital Marketing exec at Outscale, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager – it’s starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
If you read a lot of business and technology publications, you might think public clouds are universally preferred over all other cloud options. To be sure, the numbers posted by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft’s Azure platform are nothing short of impressive. Statistics reveal that public clouds are growing faster than private clouds and analysts at IDC predict that public cloud growth will be 3 times that of private clouds by 2019.
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
For over a decade, Application Programming Interface or APIs have been used to exchange data between multiple platforms. From social media to news and media sites, most websites depend on APIs to provide a dynamic and real-time digital experience. APIs have made its way into almost every device and service available today and it continues to spur innovations in every field of technology. There are multiple programming languages used to build and run applications in the online world. And just li...
If you are thinking about moving applications off a mainframe and over to open systems and the cloud, consider these guidelines to prioritize what to move and what to eliminate. On the surface, mainframe architecture seems relatively simple: A centrally located computer processes data through an input/output subsystem and stores its computations in memory. At the other end of the mainframe are printers and terminals that communicate with the mainframe through protocols. For all of its appare...
"Peak 10 is a hybrid infrastructure provider across the nation. We are in the thick of things when it comes to hybrid IT," explained Michael Fuhrman, Chief Technology Officer at Peak 10, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
Data reduction delivers compelling cost reduction that substantially improves the business case in every cloud deployment model. No matter which cloud approach you choose, the cost savings benefits from data reduction should not be ignored and must be a component of your cloud strategy. IT professionals are finding that the future of IT infrastructure lies in the cloud. Data reduction technologies enable clouds — public, private, and hybrid — to deliver business agility and elasticity at the lo...
"At the keynote this morning we spoke about the value proposition of Nutanix, of having a DevOps culture and a mindset, and the business outcomes of achieving agility and scale, which everybody here is trying to accomplish," noted Mark Lavi, DevOps Solution Architect at Nutanix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"DivvyCloud as a company set out to help customers automate solutions to the most common cloud problems," noted Jeremy Snyder, VP of Business Development at DivvyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I will be talking about ChatOps and ChatOps as a way to solve some problems in the DevOps space," explained Himanshu Chhetri, CTO of Addteq, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lav...
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
"We do one of the best file systems in the world. We learned how to deal with Big Data many years ago and we implemented this knowledge into our software," explained Jakub Ratajczak, Business Development Manager at MooseFS, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.